CANADA STOCKS-Energy shares power TSX, but weekly gain slips away

Fri Mar 15, 2013 5:14pm EDT

* Stock index rises 30.12 points, or 0.24 pct, to 12,830.03
    * Energy stocks lead the way, financials also strong
    * Consumer staples weak


    By Cameron French
    TORONTO, March 15 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
ended higher on Friday on the back of surging energy stocks and
a slight gain in financials, but the market just missed notching
its fourth-straight weekly gain due to steep losses earlier in
the week.
    The upward momentum was largely due to the 1.09 percent rise
in the energy subgroup, which benefited from a slight rise in
oil and natural gas prices and touched its highest level since
early November. Analysts said the group is showing signs of
breaking out of the range it has been stuck in.
    "There was some worry about some of the big producers, but
now it appears they're paring back some of their large-scale
programs, so their stocks are starting to look a little more
interesting, and that's given some impetus to the market," said
John Ing, president of Toronto-based Maison Placements.
    Penn West Petroleum was among the group's leaders,
rising 5.2 percent to C$11.89, while larger player EnCana Corp
 climbed 1.5 percent to C$20.73.
    All told, five of the TSX's 10 subgroups ended the session
higher, including the heavily weighted financials sector, which
notched a 0.13 percent rise.
    Power Financial Corp climbed 1.2 percent to
C$30.19, rebounding from losses earlier in the week, when the
holding company reported a weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter
profit. Toronto Stock Exchange owner TMX Group Ltd gained
2.5 percent to C$56.75.
    The S&P/TSX composite index ended the session up
30.12 points, or 0.24 percent, at 12,830.03.
    Friday's gain reversed the TSX's recent trend of
underperformance versus comparable U.S. indexes as both the U.S.
S&P 500 index and the Dow Jones industrial average 
took losses on the day.
    However, for the week, the TSX slipped 0.04 percent due to a
steep 1 percent slide on Wednesday, while U.S. markets made
gains over the five-day period.
    "The (Canadian) market is stuck in trading range. People are
waiting for some sort of news either that the recovery is going
to be robust or in fact we're slipping into recession," Ing
said.
    "Until we get some something conclusive, you're going to see
this trading range."
    Economic data on Friday was mixed, as U.S. industrial
production data was stronger than expected, while Canadian
figures showed slower housing activity and Canadian consumer
indebtedness holding at record levels..
    Among declining groups, consumer staples fell 0.31 percent,
as food retailers took modest losses.
    Empire Co Ltd, parent company of grocer Sobeys,
fell 1.3 percent to C$63.58, while competitor Metro Inc 
slid 0.9 percent to C$63.14.
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